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Art of the Deal – The Rules of Engagement

By : Ziad K. Abdelnour| 20 July 2013
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I meet thousands of people a year – both online and offline – and I am frankly flabbergasted how well educated and supposedly highly connected people are so awkward in engaging in business.

For the most part, they think that just by soliciting you online – on LinkedIn or other social network – or through a referral friend; they are now at equal footing with you and can sell you anything they want.

And then when you face them with reality, they get very frustrated, act real weird because they didn’t get what they were looking for and drop you as fast as they met you.

Welcome to the age of shallowness, stupidity and the sound byte.

For all those rookies out there, let me share with you those few but priceless tips in the hope you’ll learn one day a thing or two about how you really get ahead in life and make things happen.

Listen First and Stop Talking:

Listening is the single-most important skill in professional and personal relationships. Ernest Hemingway said, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” It’s sad, but true: Most people have their own agenda and are too busy talking (or waiting to talk) to listen to you. So if you, unlike most people, can truly listen with empathy, then people will like you–and eventually help you get what you want.

Help Others:

It’s perhaps another paradox, but it works: When you want something from someone, instead of asking for it, help that person get what he or she wants. If you don’t know what he or she wants, then simply ask, “How can I help you?” Since so many people are out to only help themselves, when you genuinely seek to help others succeed in their goals and dreams, you’ll stand out. And those people you genuinely help will in turn fight to help you succeed and give you everything you want. Help others first, without expecting anything–and the returns will be enormous.

Be Yourself:

Oprah Winfrey stated, “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” Professionals, especially of an older generation, tend to have a tough time with authenticity and transparency in the workplace. People, especially men, tend to have a tough time being vulnerable, especially with people they don’t know well. Many also aren’t sure how much to reveal online, or at work, or to people they’ve just met. But, hard as these choices may be, authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability all breed trust. And when people trust you, they’ll do anything for you. Open up to people, and take a chance, and you’ll be rewarded.

Tell, Don’t Sell:

As important as it is to listen and help others, in order to get what you want, eventually you’ve got to tell people what that is. But nobody wants to be sold to. So whether it’s a product, service, idea, or yourself that you’re trying to sell–give up on “selling.” Instead, focus on telling a great story–captivating your audience, bringing to life what the future will bring, and painting a great picture of what will happen if you get what you want. When you get good at storytelling, people want to be part of that story—and they want to help others become part of that story too.

Inject Passion Everywhere:

Passion is contagious, but so is lack of passion. If you’re not passionate about what you’re talking about, why should someone else care? If you want something, you must be more excited and dedicated to it than anyone else. If you’re not passionate about it, maybe it’s not really that important to you. You don’t need to be bouncing off the walls to convince someone of something. You just need to reveal your true passion, in the way that’s genuine for you.

Surprise and Delight Others:

This is really very simple. When you surprise and delight others, not only do you make them happy–you remind them that you’re the type of person who might surprise and delight them soon again. Some classic examples: bringing home flowers to your wife for “no reason”; telling a customer his order will arrive next week but then overnighting it; etc…. If you go out of your way to make an experience, especially when people least expect it, you will get huge results over time.

Apologize when You Make a Mistake:

Say “I’m sorry” when you make a mistake and “thank you” as much as you can. These words are so simple, yet so often people overlook the importance of saying them. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone knows that. It’s not when you make a mistake that’s a problem; it’s when you make a mistake and are too proud or embarrassed to be vulnerable, fess up, and apologize. Just say “I’m sorry” and let another person forgive you, so you can move on, and eventually get what you want. Conversely, sincere gratitude to people is a powerful emotion to convey, and opens up many doors.

I believe these tips are universally true. When you stop grabbing for things, sometimes the world just hands them to you, instead. Focusing on others is true success.

Share your thoughts.

Comments

  1. BjarkeBjarke

    You are right about all what you wrote. I live by most of what you have written and will pay more attention on the things I didn’t do that much. I agree, it really gives allot to be honest, apologis for mistakes, be of service to others and aim for high business ethics. There is only one thing I don’t understand: “supposedly highly connected people are so awkward in engaging in business.” Why even be around them or talk to them? If people are not behaving professionally then I don’t want to waste time on them. I will give them few chances, but if they don’t admit mistakes or do an effor to learn from them, then they are not at the same level as me.

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